Centre for Integrated Preclinical Drug Development

The Centre for Integrated Preclinical Drug Development (CIPDD) in the School of Biomedical Sciences, the Faculty of Medicine, has state-of-the-art physical infrastructure located in purpose-built facilities on the St Lucia Campus of The University of Queensland (UQ) and operated in accordance with the requirements of our Quality Management System.

Our research at the CIPDD is aimed at bringing innovation into the methods used for translational research, particularly in discovery-translation in the pain field including use of these models to screen new molecules for analgesic activity and to probe the pathobiology of individual human pain conditions.  

Our research is funded by grants from competitive funding agencies such as the NHMRC, Therapeutic Innovation Australia/National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS), and various not-for-profit organisations, usually in collaboration with Industry and academic partners. We also undertake contract-funded research in collaboration with biotechnology and Pharma companies globally.

Over the past two decades at the CIPDD, we have developed a portfolio of 16 rodent pain models that mimic individual human pain conditions. In addition, we have mouse models of multiple sclerosis and triple negative breast cancer. Research using these models is undertaken in a facility operated in accordance with our Quality Management System so that the data generated is of high quality and will be acceptable for inclusion in regulatory submissions.  Our research using these models is three-fold, namely:

  • Efficacy profiling of new molecules from drug discovery programs that have the potential to be progressed into development as novel analgesics for human use
  • Investigation of between-model differences in pathophysiology to gain insight on differences in the pathobiology of individual human pain conditions
  • Establishment of new models of human disease in response to researcher request such as our mouse model of triple negative breast cancer.

Members of our highly skilled CIPDD team advise/co-advise PhD, M Biotech, Honours and summer vacation research students working on projects within the afore-mentioned research themes.

Therapeutical Innovation Australia (TIA) - Small Molecule Drug Discovery

The CIPDD (Centre for Integrated Preclinical Drug Development) is part of an integrated capability network of National Research Infrastructure that supports Small Molecule Drug Discovery. These facilities provide expertise and infrastructure to support leading-edge research and boost innovation across Australia. For more information, visit Therapeutic Innovation Australia's Pipeline Navigator for an interactive map of translational research capabilities accessible to researchers.

Studies conducted with CIPDD are eligible for consideration for funding by the Therapeutic Innovation Australia Pipeline Accelerator Voucher Scheme. In brief, this scheme aims to support early-stage therapeutic development projects by providing up to $50,000 with 50% matching funding (co-investment) by the applicant. Please visit the TIA website for more details

TIA logo      NCRIS logo

Our expertise

Our specialised expertise lies in the field of pain. We focus on discovery-translation and new drug development and have:

  1. A portfolio of sophisticated/refined rodent pain models that mimic individual human pain conditions
    • Studies are conducted in a purpose-built facility operated in accordance with the requirements of our Quality Management System
    • Aim: Improve preclinical to clinical research translation in the chronic pain field
  2. Capabilities to establish other efficacy models in rodents upon request such as our mouse model of triple negative breast cancer.

Our methods for efficacy testing include:

  • Pain behavioural read-outs (blinded assessments): mechanical allodynia, mechanical & thermal hyperalgesia, static weight bearing, hotplate, tail flick, burrowing, grip strength, gait analysis (CatWalk™ XT system)
  • Rotarod assessment of motor impairment
  • General health
  • Clinical signs
  • Respiratory depression
  • Constipation
  • Ex vivo: IHC, molecular biological methods, etc.

We use multiple dosing routes

I.c.v., i.t., i.v. injection or infusion and blood sample collection (via Culex machine), i.p., s.c., oral by gavage, i.pl., i.d.

Our models

We currently have 16 established pain models for a range of diseases.

Neuropathic pain

  • Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (cisplatin)
  • 2 x antiretriviral drug induced toxic neuropathy (d4T, ddC)
  • Sciatica – Chronic constriction injury of the sciatic nerve
  • Relapsing-remitting experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (RR-EAE)-mouse model of multiple sclerosis-induced central neuropathic pain
  • Streptozotocin (STZ)-induced rat model of painful diabetic neuropathy (PDN)
  • ZDF genetic type 2 diabetic rat model of PDN
  • Capsaicin-induced hindpaw sensitivity.

Mixed neuropathic / inflammatory pain

  • 2x cancer-induced bone pain: breast and prostate

Inflammatory pain

  • Chronic low back pain
  • Monoiodoacetate (MIA)-induced rat model of knee osteoarthritis
  • i.pl. Freund’s Complete Adjuvant (FCA)-induced unilateral inflammatory pain in the rat hindpaw.

Nociceptive pain

  • Post-surgical pain (Brennan model)
  • Acute pain (tail flick)
  • Acute pain (hot plate)
  • i.pl. formalin
  • Nerve block model.

Other models include:

  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Triple Negative Breast Cancer Xenograft Model

Other methods include assessment of:

  • Respiratory depression via plethysmography in awake, freely moving rats
  • Constipation in rats
    • GI motility in rats
    • Castor oil induced diarrhoea in rats.

CIPDD team



Research staff


  • Pathophysiology of neuropathic pain and chronic inflammatory pain
  • Efficacy profiling of new molecules with potential as novel analgesics for treatment of neuropathic pain or chronic inflammatory pain
  • MS-associated central neuropathic pain
  • Painful diabetic neuropathy
  • Cancer chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy
  • Mechanical low back pain
  • Osteoarthritis pain

Advisors/co-advisors: Professor Maree Smith, Dr Andy Kuo

Note for students: Please contact us as the research projects listed on this page are examples only. Please always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.


Doctor Philosophy

Doctor Philosophy

Doctor Philosophy

(2023–2028) Therapeutic Innovation Australia Limited

(2023–2026) National Multiple Sclerosis Society-US

(2022–2026) NHMRC Synergy Grants

(2022–2024) NHMRC Development Grant

(2022–2023) Argenica Therapeutics Limited

(2022–2023) Multiple Sclerosis Research Australia - Targeted Grant - Neurodegeneration

(2020–2022) Multiple Sclerosis Research Australia

(2019–2021) NHMRC Development Grant

(2019) UQ Major Equipment and Infrastructure

(2019) UQ Major Equipment and Infrastructure

(2018–2020) NHMRC Development Grant

(2018) UQ Major Equipment and Infrastructure

(2017–2018) Prince Charles Hospital Foundation

(2016–2018) NHMRC Project Grant

(2016) NHMRC Equipment Grant

(2015–2022) Australian Cancer Research Foundation

(2015–2016) UniQuest Pty Ltd

  • Novel analgesics for improved relief of cancer induced bone pain

(2015) UQ Collaboration and Industry Engagement Fund

(2014–2017) NHMRC Project Grant

(2014–2017) Therapeutic Innovation Australia Limited

(2014–2015) UniQuest Pty Ltd

(2013–2016) ARC Linkage Projects

(2013–2016) UniQuest Pty Ltd

(2013–2015) Spinifex Pharmaceuticals Pty Ltd

(2013) UQ Major Equipment and Infrastructure

(2011–2015) Queensland Government Smart Futures Co-Investment Fund

(2011–2014) Therapeutic Innovation Australia Limited

(2010–2013) ARC Linkage Projects

(2010–2013) ARC Linkage Projects

  • Development of high throughput in-vitro test methods for screening sensitization potential of industrial chemicals

(2010–2012) UQ Collaboration and Industry Engagement Fund

(2010) UQ Major Equipment and Infrastructure

(2010) UQ Major Equipment and Infrastructure

(2009–2013) Queensland Government Smart State National and International Research Alliances Program

(2009–2010) Alchemia Pty Ltd

(2008) Gallipoli Research Foundation

(2008) Diabetes Australia Research Trust

(2006–2009) ARC Linkage Projects

(2006–2007) Gallipoli Research Foundation

(2006) ARC Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities

(2005) NHMRC Equipment Grant

(2004–2005) NHMRC Equipment Grant

(2004–2005) Griffith University

(2003) NHMRC Equipment Grant

(2002–2003) Queensland Cancer Fund

(2001–2004) Wellcome Trust

(2001–2002) Mayne Bequest Fund

(2001) Brain Research Fund

(2000) Pharmaceutical Society of Australia

(2000) Brain Research Fund

(1999–2002) Wellcome Trust

(1999) Ramaciotti Foundation

(1998–2000) NHMRC Project Grant

(1998–1999) Queensland Cancer Fund

(1996) John & Mary Kibble Trust

(1996) ARC Australian Research Council (Small grants)

(1995–1997) Queensland Cancer Fund

(1995) ARC Australian Research Council (Small grants)

TIA logoThe mission of the TIA is to provide a facilitated pathway to assist Australian life sciences discovery researchers to progress their inventions through the various nonclinical & clinical development steps to the point where they will attract investment for commercialization into products for improving human health.

For more information please visit the Therapeutic Innovation website.

CIPDD is one of four TIA-funded National translational research Centres that comprise the Small Molecule Therapeutics capability. The other three Centres are Compounds Australia, the Australian Translational Medicinal Chemistry Facility and the Centre for Drug Candidate Optimisation.

NCRIS logoThe National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy drives research excellence and collaboration between 35,000 researchers, government and industry to deliver practical outcomes.

Learn more about the NCRIS.

Emeritus Professor Maree Smith
T: +61 7 3365 2554
F: +61 7 3346 7391
E: maree.smith@uq.edu.au

Dr Andy Kuo
T: +61 7 3346 9365
F: +61 7 3346 7391
E: a.kuo1@uq.edu.au

Mailing/Delivery Address

Level 3 Steele Building, St. Lucia campus, Staffhouse Rd
The University of Queensland
Brisbane Qld 4072